The House on Mango Street

How does Hairs relate to Esperanza's family?


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Esperanza's analysis of her family's hair not only deciphers her family members, pulling them apart into mere body parts, but it also brings the reader closer to her family. By intricately describing the hair of her father, her mother, and her siblings, she is unconsciously inviting the readers into her home on Mango Street. Furthermore, Esperanza looks at hair as simple labels for the people in her family. If her hair is lazy, then perhaps she believes she is looked upon as lazy. This notion continues with her father and his broom hair. If all his hair is up in the air, then perhaps his mind is, as well. Esperanza will return to her father's lofty ideas several times during the selections, and this first image of a man with all of his hair up in the air, is one that not only provokes laughter, but also can parallel his personality and actions. Esperanza ends the chapter with her mother's hair, as it is soft, lovely, and smells like fresh bread. This treasured hair is analogous with a young girl's image of her mother at the onset of puberty. Her mother is her caretaker, the person who raises her, dresses her, and feeds her in the morning with bread. As Esperanza grows into a young woman, the image of her mother will alter. However, this first, fresh, and innocent picture of a young girl admiring her mother's soft hair is one that parallels true human emotions.